University of Connecticut forward Niels Giffey will miss the team’s final two games this season because of the broken finger he suffered Saturday in a loss to Cincinnati.
Giffey suffered a fracture of his right index finger with just over nine minutes to play in the Huskies’ 61-56 loss. X-Rays taken after the game showed a break but the Huskies waited for Giffey to see an orthopedic specialist, which he did Monday, to officially rule him out of action.
Giffey will undergo surgery but he will have to rest the hand nonetheless. Recovery time is estimated at 6-10 weeks.
“It’s unfortunate. There’s no way I can get back in that time,” Giffey said Tuesday. “I’m trying to stay positive.”
Giffey said he’s watched the play where he was injured but is still confused.
“It was a play where we had a turnover,” Giffey said. “I looked at it two or three times and I don’t know what happened. I think I deflected the ball and I might have hit my own hand or the other guy’s hand.”
Did he know it was serious right away?
“It looked like that. The finger was dislocated. It was poking out to the side. It looked kind of scary,” Giffey said.
Giffey said that if it had been his non-shooting hand he might have been able to play in the last two games.
UConn plays Wednesday in Tampa against South Florida before finishing its season Saturday against Providence in Gampel Pavilion. The Huskies (19-9, 9-7) are banned from postseason play and won’t play after that.
The news from UConn on Shabazz Napier was slightly more encouraging. The junior point guard, who missed the first game of his collegiate career Saturday because of a right foot injury, is still in a boot and his playing status will be determined Wednesday.
The Huskies practiced early Tuesday in Storrs. Napier did not participate.
“We practiced today at 8 o’clock. It was a great practice,” coach Kevin Ollie said. “It felt good to get back on the basketball court.”
“We’re going to go with what we have and I’m excited for the challenge,” Ollie said.
A junior from Berlin, Giffey averaged 4.9 points and 3.6 rebounds this season. He played in all 28 of the Huskies’ games, starting one. He had been scoring more lately, netting at least nine points in three of his last six games.
Giffey’s absence probably means freshman Leon Tolksdorf will see more playing time over the Huskies’ final two games. Windsor’s Brendan Allen could also see a few minutes if the Huskies opt for a smaller lineup.
“Everybody’s alive,” Ollie said. “Whoever is on that bench is alive.”
Ollie added that he thinks Napier’s injury is better but…
“Yeah, I think it’s responded (to treatment). It’s still tender,” Ollie said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
“It’s ultimately up to him and (trainer) James Doran. I’m going to go with them,” Ollie said. “And whoever I got, I’m going to battle with those guys.”